Psychology: Bullying as Antisocial Behavior
The subject of bullying is one of the greatest challenges that modern pedagogy has to face. It disrupts the learning process and causes physical and psychological problems to both the victim and the perpetrator. Almost every class has at least one antisocial element that needs to be dealt with on a regular basis. In many cases, the educator must intervene in order to stop bullying.
One of the interesting ideas to explore is the concept of using peer pressure to have the bully cease his or her attempts to abuse other children. However, as practice shows, passive bystanders are unlikely to stand up for someone else and are more likely to join in bullying the victim. Other factors that prevent large groups from intervening have been highlighted in research by Darley and Latane, which states that larger groups tend to react slower to help out due to the effect of dissemination of responsibility. At the same time, children in the class are not to be expected to consistently intervene in conflicts due to being preoccupied with other matters.
My proposed intervention would involve isolating the bully with a smaller group of strong students, who would not be valid targets for abuse, in a non-violent setting. The lack of violent resolutions would result in a gradual de-escalation of the situation, while positive peer pressure in a smaller group combined with positive examples should gradually persuade the bully to adhere to the standard of scholarly behavior. After it becomes the norm, it would be possible to reintegrate the bully into the classroom. Providing the conditions in the class are similar to those in the smaller group (non-violence, healthy competition, regulation), incidents of bullying should become less frequent.